Thought Starters for Brainstorming Your 2021 Goals

Thinking Career

Setting, sticking with and achieving goals is hard. How do you set realistic goals? How do you continue them throughout the entire year? What does success look like?

It’s easy to quickly get overwhelmed when thinking about what you want to accomplish in an entire year. Plus, things change that are both in and out of your control. So, instead of beating yourself up over unfinished or unachieved goals from previous years, try setting movable, flexible goals this year.

But that’s easier said than done, too. Where do you even start when setting a goal? How do you think big enough, or small enough, to set a goal that is realistic? To help you kick off your yearly goal planning, we put together a series of prompts to get your brain mulling over achievable goals to set for 2021.

Reflect on Last Year

  • What is one thing you’re proud of in 2020?
  • What was the most important thing you learned last year?
  • Where can you improve from last year?
  • What part of your job brought you the most satisfaction?
  • What advice would you give yourself looking back on last year?
  • How did you feel when 2020 ended?

Look to This Year

  • What area(s) do you want to grow in this year?
  • What do you want to continue to do this year?
  • What do you want to do differently?
  • How do you want to feel at the end of the year?
  • What event would signify a successful year?
  • What do you want to challenge yourself with this year?

Prompts to Consider

  • By June, I want to be/do:
  • One thing I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet is:
  • My favorite part of my field/industry/job is:
  • If I could go back and change one thing about my career path it would be:
  • One step I will take this year towards my 5-year plan is:
  • I feel most fulfilled in my career when:

By answering these questions and prompts, you should be well on your way to envisioning what a successful year will look like for you. If you haven’t already, take out a pad and pen and start writing down whatever pops into your mind as you read through the above.

Then, roughly sketch out how you could accomplish some of the bigger things you want to do. This could be a full timeline or rough benchmarks. You know what motivates you best, so if you need hard deadlines, make them. If you’re successful with just having a timeframe in your head, that’s fine, too.

Remember, the motivation for goals is to help you find your success. Make, set and work towards them in the way that makes sense for you.

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